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Ahmedabad: Cousin's death put aspiring CFA on path to monkhood

Harshit, who is among the four youths who took diksha at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad from Acharya Rashmiratnasuri on Thursday

Ahmedabad: Cousins death put aspiring CFA on path to monkhood
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Harshit Bhansali, 24, had everything going for him. A native of Mumbai with a father in the diamond market, Harshit was living with his maternal aunt's family in Bengaluru since 2015.

A commerce graduate, he was preparing for chartered financial analyst (CFA) entrance test and looking forward to settling in the US with a successful career in finance.

However, the death of Naman Kothari, the son of his maternal aunt and his close friend at the end of year 2019, shook him to the core. "I planned to go abroad to pursue a career in finance, investment banking and capital markets, but the death of Naman was devastating. The lockdown didn't help and aggravated the depression I was going through," Harshit recounted.

Harshit, who is among the four youths who took diksha at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad from Acharya Rashmiratnasuri on Thursday, got on the path of spirituality through the books he read during the lockdown, when he was battling depression triggered by the death of his cousin.

His aunt, Mamta Kothari, said they were shocked when Harshit told them he wanted to take diksha and lead the life of a Jain monk. "It was another blow after the death of Naman. Ours is a pharma distribution firm in Bengaluru with an annual turnover of Rs 400 crore. We were hoping he would take over from us. Thus, we did not give our consent at first," she said.

Harshit was determined. "The accident was so devastating that he (Naman) had died within minutes - no power or clout helped him get one extra breath. This caused a swirl of questions in my head - and I only got respite after finding some answers from the religious texts. Material wealth or comfort meant less and less for me," he says. His parents and maternal uncle and aunt were counselled by the acharya and senior monks, who asked them not to stop Harshit, who was ready to take the plunge.

On Thursday, Harshit got his new identity. The three others were Khush Jain, 19, a resident of Bhuleshwar in Mumbai; Bhautik Baldiya, 18, a resident of Bhayandar in Mumbai; and Rakesh Jivavat, 38, a resident of Mumbai.

Rakesh is not married, and wanted to be a monk since the age of 18 years, but his gurus insisted that he take the consent of his family. He also successfully ran a plastics unit, but when the family realized it was not what he wanted in life, they allowed him to take diksha.

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